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AGO 1955 No. 174 - December 15, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- CITIES OF THE 3rd CLASS ‑- ORDINANCES ‑- PUBLICATION ‑- POSTING ‑- WHEN PERMISSIBLE

Ordinances of a city of the third class must be published at least once in the city's official newspaper, if there be one, and if there be no official newspaper, then in some other newspaper published in the city, and if there be no newspaper published in the city then it must be published or posted in at least three public places in such city in such manner as the city council may direct.

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                                                               December 15, 1955

Honorable Cliff Yelle
State Auditor
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 174


Attention:  Mr. A. E. Hankins, Chief Examiner

Dear Sir:

            You have asked this office for an opinion on the following question:

            "'May a city of the third class elect to "post" its ordinances in three public places rather than to publish them in a newspaper even though a newspaper is printed in such a city?'"

            Our answer to the above question is in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 35.24.220 as codified provides as follows:

            "Every ordinance of a city of the third class shall be published at least once in a newspaper published  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] in the city, such publication to be made in the city's official newspaper if there is one.  If there is no official newspaper or other newspaper published in the city publication shall be made in such manner as the city council may direct.  In lieu of publication the ordinance may be printed and posted in at least three public places in the city."  (Emphasis supplied)

            Section 12, chapter 184, Laws of 1915, from which RCW 35.24.220 is in part derived, sets up the requisites for publication of an ordinance and provides in so far as relevant as follows:

            "* * * All ordinances shall be published in a newspaper printed within said city; said publication shall be made by the newspaper designated as the official newspaper of said city, if there be one.  If there be no official newspaper nor other newspaper published in said city, then publication shall be made in such manner as the city council may direct.  * * *"

            It will be readily noticed that the phrase "in lieu of publication" which is underlined in the codified version does not appear in the session law.  Section 12 does not mention posting; but it does state that if there is no official newspaper or any other newspaper published in the city "then the publication shall be made in such manner as the city council may direct."

            The codifier evidently derived the phrase "in lieu of" from § 18 of chapter 184, Laws of 1915, which provides as follows:

            "The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be as follows:  'The city council of the city of * * * do ordain as follows:'  Every ordinance shall be signed by the mayor, attested by the clerk, and published at least once in a newspaper published in such city, or printed and posted in at least three public places therein."  (Emphasis supplied)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Section 18 as set out above relates primarily to the enactment clause of ordinances of the city.  The above underlined words "or printed and posted in at least three public places therein" although seeming to conflict with § 12, can be interpreted together with it in applicable situations, such as when there is no newspaper, posting may be substituted.  However, the language of § 18 definitely does not say "in lieu of publication" and to that extent, the RCW version is incorrect.

            Sections 12 and 18 above referred to are part of the same act,‑-chapter 184, Laws of 1915.  We are mindful of the rule that statutes should be construed as a whole, and not by taking one section or sentence.  Great Northern R. Co. v. State, 200 Wash. 392, 417.  Likewise, it is a cardinal rule of statutory construction that two statutes dealing with the same subject matter will, if possible, be construed to preserve the integrity of both.  State v. Fairbanks, 25 Wn. (2d) 686.

            Applying these rules of statutory construction to the foregoing we conclude that ordinances of a city of the third class must be published at least once in the city's official newspaper, if there be one, and if there be no official newspaper, then in some other newspaper published in the city, and if there be no newspaper published in the city then it must be published or posted in at least three public places in such city in such manner as the city council may direct.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


MAURICE M. EPSTEIN
Assistant Attorney General

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